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Apple iPhone 6 Plus review: Discontinued and replaced by the iPhone 6S Plus

Kitten and iPhone 6 Plus
Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £619
Incl VAT

That giant iPhone 6 Plus was near-perfect, but it's since been replaced by Apple's iPhone 6S and 7 Plus


  • Good overall performance
  • Competent camera


  • Hard to source
  • Limited storage

iPhone 6 Plus review: iOS

Note: The original review was based on iOS 8.3. At the time of updating this article, the iPhone 6 Plus runs on Apple’s latest operating system, iOS 12.

Apple installed iOS 8 on the iPhone 6 Plus, although this has been updated recently updated to iOS 8.3. This follows on from iOS 8.2, which didn’t make big changes, but adds support for the Apple Watch (via an app that you can’t remove), improves overall stability and fixes the old Freak security bug, which made SSL connections insecure.

The one big new feature of iOS 8.3 is Wi-Fi calling. In the UK only EE supports Wi-Fi calling and, then, only on pay-monthly contracts. Even so, it is a big deal. Simply described, Wi-Fi calling lets you make and receive calls and SMS messages using a wireless network and the internet, rather than using the cellular network. Once enabled, your iPhone switches automatically to use Wi-Fi calling when it’s connected to a wireless network, making the technology completely seamless.

It also means that you don’t have to make any changes to your settings, get people to call you in a different way or fire up a separate app. Fortunately, Wi-Fi calling is as good as it sounds. In our testing, we found that calls made over a wireless network sounded at least as good as regular calls. You can hear our test calls in the SoundCloud below.

However, while it helps eliminate dead spots, Wi-Fi calling also disables Continuity phone calls. This is the part of iOS that lets you answer and make calls from your other Apple devices, such as your tablet (more on this below), so you have to choose whether you want Wi-Fi calls or Continuity. To find out how to switch, read our guide on how to use Continuity and Wi-Fi calling. While having to switch is a little annoying, Wi-Fi calling is still an impressive technology, particularly when you end up in a place with no reception, but decent internet speeds.

Our iOS 8.3 review goes into more detail on all of the other features, but, in short, this is the best mobile OS that Apple has ever released. It looks great, is more open (you can install your own keyboards, for example), and works brilliantly across all of your Apple devices. For example, you can answer a phone call on your iPad, or start writing an email on your iPhone and finish on your iPad. With the iPhone 6 Plus and its higher-resolution screen, iOS 8 adds in a new landscape mode. On the home screen, this puts the Dock vertically down the right-hand side of the screen and rearranges everything else to fit. Given the size of the phone, this mode may be more comfortable for a lot of people to use.

Apple has also added in a landscape mode for emails, putting the current mailbox down the left-hand side of the screen, with a preview window appearing on the right. It’s similar to the way that the iPad Mail client works. It’s a nice little touch that makes the most of the extra resolution and screen size, and we hope that other developers also adjust their apps to work, in the same way.

iPhone 6 Plus landscape mail

You don’t always want to use your iPhone in landscape mode, so Apple has added in a new mode called Reachability. Double-tap the home button (don’t click, just tap) and the whole screen slides down so that you can reach the top of it with a thumb. It’s useful, but a little basic in operation and you kind of think that Apple could have done a bit more with the feature, particular as there’s an ugly block of blank screen at the top. 

Reachability is also a little inconsistent. For example, if you use it on the Spotlight search screen, only the search results move down not the search box, so you can’t tap the Cancel button or hit ‘X’ to delete what you’ve entered. Use Reachability on any other app, such as Mail, and the search box does move down. Admittedly with Spotlight, you can use the delete key on the keyboard to erase what you’ve typed and you can hit the Home button to cancel a search, but we’d like to see Reachability act the same way everywhere.

One neat thing about Reachability is that it makes it easier to access the Today screen. On any app or on the home screen (this tip only doesn’t work on Spotlight), you can activate Reachability and then swipe down on the blank part of the display to bring out the Today menu. This is a lot easier than trying to get your thumb to the top of the display.

Don’t forget, there are still the normal gestures, so you can swipe on the left-hand side of the screen to go back in Safari. Admittedly, the iPhone 6 Plus is still very large and there will be times you need to grasp it two-handed, but we found that we could generally get away with using it one-handed.

iPhone 6 Plus reachability

One area that some developers need to work on is upgrading their apps for the high-resolution display. Existing iPhone 5S apps are scaled to fit the screen, but if they don’t include iPhone 6 Plus-sized icons and text, they look a little blurry and lose the sharpness they once had. This has dramatically improved since launch and there are very few apps that don’t have high-resolution graphics and text in them.

iPhone 6 Plus review: Keyboard

With the extra space available on the phone, Apple hasn’t simply stretched its old keyboard to fit. Instead, you now get a couple of extra keys in landscape mode, including a button to delete all text (great for filling in forms when you make a mistake) and arrow keys for more finely moving the cursor.

iPhone 6 Plus keyboard

Apple’s new QuickType keyboard has been installed, which gives you three word or phrase suggestions as you start to type. It bases the choice both on the application (messages use more slang than email), and the person you’re talking to (a friend has looser language than colleague), learning as it goes based on how you’ve previously entered text. We’re big fans of it, with the new system causing fewer errors than the old autocorrect system that only gave you a single choice and often ‘corrected’ automatically, whether you wanted it to or not. Of course, if you don’t like what you get then you can simply replace the keyboard with a third-party one of your choice.

iPhone 6 Plus review: TouchID

TouchID makes a welcome return in the iPhone 6 Plus. Other handsets may have a fingerprint reader for security, but none works as well as TouchID, where you only have to touch, not swipe, to activate it. This lets you click TouchID to turn on the phone, then hold to unlock it all in one easy motion. On top of that Apple has now opened up the system, so app developers can use it for authentication and to protect private details. It’s early days yet, and Amazon only supports the tech for its US app. 

iPhone 6 Plus TouchID

iPhone 6 Plus review: NFC and Apple Pay

Along with the iPhone 6, the iPhone 6 Plus is the first Apple handset to have NFC built in. This is designed to be used with the Apple Pay system, which will let you pay for goods using contactless payments in store (it can also be used for online transactions, and NFC is not required for this). However, the system is only available in the US for now, so we haven’t been able to test it. As soon as it rolls out in the UK we’ll update this review to explain how well it works.

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ProcessorDual-core 1.4GHz Apple A8
Screen size5.5in
Screen resolution1,920×1,080
Screen typeIPS
Front camera1.2 megapixels
Rear camera8 megapixels
FlashYes (dual LED)
Memory card slot (supplied)N/A
BluetoothBluetooth 4.0
Wireless data4G
Operating systemiOS 8
Battery size2,915mAh
Buying information
WarrantyOne-year RTB
Price SIM-free (inc VAT)£619

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